In June 2004 members of Derren’s forum submitted some questions to him and here are his replys. Special thanks goes out to Monkeymagic!
- If there is one thing that you could change in you live at the moment, what would that be?
I’d like some time to relax in my new place. It’s still a mess of boxes and the decorators haven’t finished. Been like this since mid-January.
- If you came onto the forum what nickname would you use and why?
Erm… probably would use my own name so you’d know it was me? Deeply unimaginative, sorry.
- Did you have a nickname at school, and if so what was it?
No, managed to get through school without one.
- What’s the strangest thing anyone has given to you after a show and what’s the nicest?
The strangest is probably the home-made cakes, which came from an unusual lady last year. Unfortunately, I can’t eat anything like that I’m given, as there’s no way of knowing what’s gone into them. There are some kind but odd people out there, and I tend to attract them. As for the nicest, I’d have to say Claudia’s stuffed Rosella. I imagine she asked this question to see if I’d say that, and I have done.
- If you could choose one artist, alive or dead, to paint a portrait of you, who would it be?
Sebastian Krueger. He’s a German caricaturist/portrait artist who paints in a similar vein to me (though better). I’d be very chuffed. Perhaps I should try and commission one.
- Desert island books. Limit five.
Bowsell’s London Diaries; Roberton Davies’ The Cornish Trilogy; some Dostoevsky compendium; the collected stories of Borges; Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. I haven’t read the last one but would like to.
- What is your greatest regret?
I can’t think of any. There are things I would change, but nothing I feel particularly responsible for.
- If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
Franz Kafka. Preferably alive. I’d want to tell him what a vast impact his tiny body of work would have, and how it would define much of modernity. And I don’t think he’d eat much.
- What was the last non-classical CD you bought?
I bought the new Nora Jones album for Coops and me to listen to in the car on tour. Our music tastes collide; so whilst I love the silence, he ended up with nothing to listen to on long drives. I enjoyed listening to his copy of the first, but we both found the second disappointing. Think he has it now. Didn’t intend to keep it.
- Not including Figaro (or his friend), what single possession could you not live without?
My phone, I guess. If I can include the charger. A horrible but honest answer.
- What is your main unfulfilled ambition?
To learn Italian and live out there for periods of the year.
- What is your favourite book and what are you currently reading?
First part answered above. Am currently reading Macks’ Who Wrote the New Testament; a very good book on how it actually came together – as opposed to the bizarre, ahistorical and defensively naive understanding of its origins I used to share with many Christians.
- Are you happy with the way the new series has been received?
It’s been great. I had no idea how the press would respond (given the mixed reaction to the Roulette), and it’s been overwhelmingly positive.
- How do you prepare yourself before going on stage: do you do any kind of warming up or do you sit in your dressing room all alone, trying to relax?
I have no rituals, and I don’t get at all nervous once I know the show well. I tend to do a few vocal warm-ups to ensure I don’t lose my voice.
- How would you like to be remembered? How do you think you will be remembered?
If I’m remembered privately as a pleasant person, then that’s all I’d hope for. No strong desire to be remembered for the performing. And I can’t begin to think what the public view of me will be by the time I die. If anyone remembers me at all that would be nice.
- If you had the chance, would you still go through with Russian Roulette if you knew how the media would react?
Of course – it did me massive favours in the long run. The reaction was frustrating, because I wasn’t able to set the record straight about what actually happened that night. So all I’d change is to make sure that the police out there didn’t get into so much trouble afterwards and need to cover their backs in the way they had to. It’s nice to have a supportive press, but ultimately one has to do what one believes in, and ultimately only the support of those who ‘get it’ will lead to any longevity. Those who don’t, will lose interest and fall away.
- Where do you see your life heading? e.g. wife? kids? career-wise? etc
I imagine we’ll get the show out in America, that I’ll tour a lot, and that I will continue to provide as much luxury and delight for myself as I can. No fixed plans beyond that.
- Would you give all the fame and fortune up for true love?
The fame in an instant; only some of the fortune.
- If you be could someone else for a day, who would you be and why?
Robert Kilroy-Silk. Then I’d go on television and apologise for myself to everyone – shortly before ending my own life. An act known, I believe, as ‘countryside’.
- What’s your favourite film?
Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire. It’s what cinema was made for.